Against Productivity – The Message – Medium


206 bookmarks. First posted by audrey november 2014.


"We dream now of making Every Moment Count, of achieving flow and never leaving, creating one project that must be better than the last, of working harder and smarter. We multitask, we update, and we conflate status with long hours worked in no paid overtime systems for the nebulous and fantastic status of being Too Important to have Time to Ourselves, time to waste. But this incarnation of the American dream is all about doing, and nothing about doing anything good, or even thinking about what one was doing beyond how to do more of it more efficiently. It was not even the surrenders to hedonism and debauchery or greed our literary dreams have recorded before. It is a surrender to nothing, to a nothingness of lived accounting.
This moment’s goal of productivity, with its all-consuming practice and unattainable horizon, is perfect for our current corporate world. Productivity never asks what it builds, just how much of it can be piled up before we leave or die. It is irrelevant to pleasure. It’s agnostic about the fate of humanity. It’s not even selfish, because production negates the self. Self can only be a denominator, holding up a dividing bar like a caryatid trying to hold up a stone roof."
essay  life  productivity  work  philosophy 
december 2017 by np
“this incarnation of the American dream is all about doing, and nothing about doing anything good”
“We should spend more time wasting time. We all need to be bored more“
“We all need a little more time to connect the dots and see if they matter”
https://t.co/6iJY2kjCJ2

— Jane Dallaway (@JaneDallaway) November 30, 2017
IFTTT  Twitter 
november 2017 by JaneDallaway
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
november 2017 by disnet
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture, launched a billion dollar self-help industry, alienated my generation, and killed uncounted people through its wild pursuit. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
november 2017 by dodecaphonic
This is going to sound a little weird but this article totally made me think of [GTD](http://gettingthingsdone.com) and the concept of "mind like water".

> In many ways foolishness isn’t the opposite of wisdom, but its absence. Productivity is the opposite of wisdom. Humanity is a creature of time and imagination. From these things our fruits are born more than manufactured. Productivity is a quality of perfect robots. Stories, adventures and all new things still have to come from messy humans.

It probably sounds confusing that an article condemning the focus on productivity reminds me of a productivity framework. However, the true goal of GTD is to **give your mind space and time**. Not to get more done, but to get more off your mind. To have a mind like water. This is a part of GTD that people tend to *not* focus on enough.
november 2017 by thingles
This lovely & wise piece from reminds me of Mary Ruefle’s wasting time:
from twitter_favs
november 2017 by jenlowe
"Here is what really happened in Puerto Rico four years ago: I fell into a funk, beat myself up a bit, and spent the rest of the time wandering around (mostly to the same places) and daydreaming. I wrote a few strange blog posts which no one read. I went a bit further into credit card debt. My days themselves were pretty quiet. I began to really think hard about what the internet does to society by just being the internet. I wrote out some of what I’d seen, and replayed them in my mind while I wandered around the beach. I made a video about being a robot in a Japanese blues bar asking if anyone could really see a singularity from inside of it. I tried to imagine 2010 me without the net. I tried to imagine 1989 me with the net. I talked about how the internet does and doesn’t change things in a place like PR. I read about Rwanda, and about the trade union history of PR and read and talked more about the history of coffee. Puerto Ricans are big on coffee. And then I left. I don’t remember where I went next.

But it all means something else now. When I look back on not only the wasted time in PR, but the couple of unproductive years around it I see it differently now. When I wasn’t beating myself up for not being productive enough, I was thinking about and interacting with the world. I was laying the first stones of a new foundation, a new way of thinking about networked culture, and even about our place on this planet. Instead of getting things done I was learning, smiling at people I didn’t share a language with, and cross-connecting the notions of my brain and the experiences of my life. It all lay fallow in me for a long time, as notes on my blog, snatches of poems, story bits to never be written. The pieces of this change were pieces of lyrics I wasted time writing on post-it notes I promptly lost, and articles I read instead of working and bits of conversation and pop songs that clung like ribbons and buttons and bits of flowers stuck all over my psyche.

My wasteful and unproductive time was the only time I asked: What should I be doing? What is a worthwhile life? And so it followed that was the only time when I could start to answer those questions. What is good work? Is any of this worth it? What makes life worth living? What good can I do in this world?

What is this world anyway?

I am only now beginning to harvest what was sown in that wasted and unproductive time. But now there are so many threads and ideas from that time, I can’t possibly follow them all. I see the world differently now. I like it more, and I see, just a tiny bit better, how it fits together.

Wisdom takes time. It takes staring out into the rain, It takes service to others. It takes getting nothing done to make us human again. To see the connections between things requires studying the blank spaces between them, days that slip into boredom and loneliness with only a person and their senses and their imagination to keep them company. I can now see that much of what I’ve written in the past year started in 2010, in Puerto Rico. I can see how the time around it allowed me to work the stories of 2011 and 2012 with an insight and understanding that I couldn’t have gotten without the failures to produce that shaped my 2009 and 2010. I can now see that my productive work — at least the good stuff, comes from my unproductive time, from my empty yearning to understand the world.

In many ways foolishness isn’t the opposite of wisdom, but its absence. Productivity is the opposite of wisdom. Humanity is a creature of time and imagination. From these things our fruits are born more than manufactured. Productivity is a quality of perfect robots. Stories, adventures and all new things still have to come from messy humans.

We should spend more time wasting time. We all need to be bored more. We all need to spend more time looking quizzically at birds we don’t recognize. We all need a little more time to connect the dots and see if they matter. I don’t know how much more, but sometimes you have to do things without knowing how much you need.

As for me, I want to go back to Puerto Rico."
productivity  life  philosophy  quinnorton  2017  slow  slowness  writing  idleness  transcontextualism  internet  web  networkedculture  purpose 
november 2017 by robertogreco
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
november 2017 by hp
Against Productivity This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
Instapaper  from instapaper
november 2017 by jt.http
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture, launched a billion dollar self-help industry, alienated my generation, and killed uncounted people through its wild pursuit. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
november 2017 by christos
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
november 2017 by zachmargolis
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
instapaper 
november 2017 by theluther
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
november 2017 by divigation
Against Productivity – The Message – Medium via Instapaper http://ift.tt/1xpPNfk
IFTTT  Instapaper 
november 2017 by craniac
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
november 2017 by adamayers
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture, launched a billion dollar self-help industry, alienated my generation, and killed uncounted people through its wild pursuit. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket  1-process-productivity 
november 2017 by clayhebert
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
november 2017 by mauty
Beautiful ode to meaning > productivity by @quinnnorton.
Unread  from pocket
november 2017 by hopeless
Beautiful ode to meaning > productivity by .
from twitter_favs
november 2017 by juancampa
"Productivity never asks what it builds, just how much of it can be piled up before we leave or die." -
from twitter_favs
november 2017 by kadavy
In many ways foolishness isn’t the opposite of wisdom, but its absence. Productivity is the opposite of wisdom. Humanity is a creature of time and imagination. From these things our fruits are born more than manufactured. Productivity is a quality of perfect robots. Stories, adventures and all new things still have to come from messy humans.
We should spend more time wasting time. We all need to be bored more. We all need to spend more time looking quizzically at birds we don’t recognize. We all need a little more time to connect the dots and see if they matter. I don’t know how much more, but sometimes you have to do things without knowing how much you need.
culture  productivity 
november 2017 by leereamsnyder
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
november 2017 by sigul
Productivity is a quality of perfect robots. Stories, adventures and all new things still have to come from messy humans.
good  human 
november 2017 by nathanwentworth
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
november 2017 by albinadev
File under Innovation Requires Waste.

An essay about our culture of personal productivity.

This quote is close to expressing how I felt during my sabbatical.

I berated myself for being unproductive, for wasting this precious time I’d set aside to put my professional life together. I spent hours anxious to craft my time to be quantitatively better for writing. Then it all collapsed, and the only habit I fell into was depressive empty afternoons when I was alone with the cats and the rain. But I also, and wholly by accident, thought the thoughts that would take my career and life in a new and unimagined direction.

My wasteful and unproductive time was the only time I asked: What should I be doing? What is a worthwhile life? And so it followed that was the only time when I could start to answer those questions. What is good work? Is any of this worth it? What makes life worth living? What good can I do in this world?

In many ways foolishness isn’t the opposite of wisdom, but its absence. Productivity is the opposite of wisdom. Humanity is a creature of time and imagination. From these things our fruits are born more than manufactured. Productivity is a quality of perfect robots. Stories, adventures and all new things still have to come from messy humans.
productivity  philosophy  work  writing  creativity  innovation  culture 
november 2017 by jefframnani
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
november 2017 by jonstieg
My wasteful and unproductive time was the only time I asked: What should I be doing? What is a worthwhile life? And so it followed that was the only time when I could start to answer those questions. What is good work? Is any of this worth it? What makes life worth living? What good can I do in this world?
productivity  @instapaper 
november 2017 by lendamico
Against Productivity -
This Essay Took Four Years to Write
from twitter
november 2017 by dr_t
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture, launched a billion dollar self-help industry, alienated my generation, and killed uncounted people through its wild pursuit.
article 
november 2017 by mud
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
november 2017 by kslimbs
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
november 2017 by mattl
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
november 2017 by stoleaglance
Against Productivity
from instapaper
july 2015 by albertosesn
> We should spend more time wasting time. We all need to be bored more. We all need to spend more time looking quizzically at birds we don’t recognize. We all need a little more time to connect the dots and see if they matter. I don’t know how much more, but sometimes you have to do things without knowing how much you need.
productivity 
april 2015 by arnalyse
Against productivity: "We should spend more time wasting time. We all need to be bored more."
from twitter
march 2015 by singlecelled
This Essay Took Four Years to Write
january 2015 by jaredestern
This moment’s goal of productivity, with its all-consuming practice and unattainable horizon, is perfect for our current corporate world. Productivity never asks what it builds, just how much of it can be piled up before we leave or die. It is irrelevant to pleasure. It’s agnostic about the fate of humanity. It’s not even selfish, because production negates the self. Self can only be a denominator, holding up a dividing bar like a caryatid trying to hold up a stone roof.

I am sure this started with the Industrial Revolution, but what has swept through this generation is more recent. This idea of productivity started in the 1980s, with the lionizing of the hardworking greedy. There’s a critique of late capitalism to be had for sure, but what really devastated my generation was the spiritual malaise inherent in Taylorism’s perfectly mechanized human labor. But Taylor had never seen a robot or a computer perfect his methods of being human. By the 1980s, we had. In the age of robots we reinvented the idea of being robots ourselves. We wanted to program our minds and bodies and have them obey clocks and routines. In this age of the human robot, of the materialist mind, being efficient took the pre-eminent spot, beyond goodness or power or wisdom or even cruel greed.
Laar  Backdrop 
january 2015 by jim.grendel
“The Japanese have defined a form of death-from-productivity: karōshi” It's Pachinko and then death at the other end
from twitter
december 2014 by avocade
Quinn Norton: "There is more than one kind of thought. There are thoughts you cannot complete within a month, or a fiscal quarter, just as there are thoughts that can occupy less than a vacation period, a weekend, or a smoke break. Like the spectrum of photonic behavior, thoughts come in a nearly infinite range of lengths and frequencies, and always move at the exact pace of human life, wherever they are in the universe. Some thoughts are long, they can take years to think, or a lifetime. Some thoughts take many lifetimes, and we hand them off to the next generation like the batons in a relay race. Some of these are the best of thoughts, even if they can be the least productive. "
work  capitalism  culture 
december 2014 by jbushnell
Against Productivity
from twitter
december 2014 by tonb
> My wasteful and unproductive time was the only time I asked: What should I be doing? What is a worthwhile life? And so it followed that was the only time when I could start to answer those questions. What is good work? Is any of this worth it? What makes life worth living? What good can I do in this world?
>
> What is this world anyway?
>
> I am only now beginning to harvest what was sown in that wasted and unproductive time. But now there are so many threads and ideas from that time, I can’t possibly follow them all. I see the world differently now. I like it more, and I see, just a tiny bit better, how it fits together.
productivity  life  self-improvement  en  from instapaper
december 2014 by cbucher1
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture,…
instapaper 
december 2014 by withoutnations
This Essay Took Four Years to Write
productivity  life  culture  politics 
december 2014 by timcowlishaw
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture,…
from instapaper
november 2014 by flobosg